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Press Release

Federal Inmate Convicted by Jury of Assault on Fellow Prisoner at FDC

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Robert Smith, 49, of Philadelphia, PA, was convicted today after trial of one count of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm, and one count of possession of contraband in prison stemming from a violent incident in which he was involved while in federal prison.

In December 2020, while the defendant was incarcerated at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia, he was involved in a physical altercation with another incarcerated individual in the same unit. Officers separated them and took them both for medical assessment, where it was discovered that the other individual had a wound consistent with being stabbed. Video footage of the fight showed Smith striking the individual with a stabbing motion, then passing an unknown item under a door to another individual, who discarded the item in a trash can. Officers searched the trash can several minutes later and found a seven-inch-long piece of metal fashioned into a knife. 

“One goal of incarceration is to deter future criminal conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “But instead of learning from previous mistakes, this defendant engaged in a violent assault on a fellow inmate. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will not tolerate this kind of lawless behavior.”

“It’s concerning when inmates serving time for past offenses continue to break the law, particularly with crimes of violence,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Both the federal inmates and BOP personnel at FDC Philadelphia deserve a safe environment in which to live and work, so violent behavior like Robert Smith’s cannot go unpunished. This conviction ensures he will spend even longer behind bars. We hope the extra time sends a message that it’s in his interests to do better going forward.”

The case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher Diviny and Lauren Stram.


615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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Updated April 21, 2022

Violent Crime